Difference Between Algae and Protozoa (With Table)

The majority of people love to get mesmerized by their surroundings. People get awed by the wonders possessed by the environment, which includes versatile living organisms. Generally, the bigger living organisms get noticed, and the smaller minute ones get unnoticed.

However, both large and tiny creatures play an important role in balancing the ecosystem. Two among them are protozoa and algae. Although, these two sets of organisms can be differentiated easily based on their structure and looks. In this article, we will study how algae differ from protozoa in detail.

Algae vs Protozoa

The difference between algae and protozoa is that algae are non-flowering, small, aquatic plants having a green pigment called chlorophyll in them. They lack root, true stem, vascular system and leaves. In contrast, protozoa are prokaryotic organisms belonging to the Protista kingdom. The cell wall of algae is made up of a substance called cellulose. In contrast, the cell wall is absent in protozoa.

Algae contain a green coloured pigment in them, called chlorophyll. The cell wall of algae is made up of a substance called cellulose. Spore is the resting unit of algae. Some examples of algae are cyanobacteria, brown algae, Seaweeds, red algae, green algae. Algae produce toxic chemicals which are hazardous to humans.

Protozoa are prokaryotic organisms, i.e., single-celled animals. Protozoa are prokaryotic organisms belonging to the Protista kingdom. Protozoa are organisms possessing animal-like characteristics. Protozoa are not capable of making their food. Hence they are heterotrophs.

Comparison Table Between Algae and Protozoa

Parameters of ComparisonAlgaeProtozoa
CellsMulticellular/Eukaryotic; some are single-celled too.Single-celled/Prokaryotic; some are multicellular too.
DefinitionAlgae are non-flowering, small, aquatic plants having a green pigment called chlorophyll in them. They lack root, true stem, vascular system and leaves.Protozoa are prokaryotic organisms belonging to the Protista kingdom.
CharacteristicsAlgae are organisms possessing plant-like characteristics.Protozoa are organisms possessing animal-like characteristics.
Method Of obtaining EnergyAlgae make their own food. Hence they are autotrophs. Protozoa are not capable of making their own food. Hence they are heterotrophs.
SignificancePhotosynthesisPhagocytosis
ChlorophyllChlorophyll is present.Chlorophyll is absent.
Cell WallThe cell wall of algae is made up of a substance called cellulose.The cell wall is absent.
Resting UnitSporecyst
ExamplesCyanobacteria, brown algae, Seaweeds, red algae, green algae. Euglena, Amoeba, Entamoeba histolytica, Paramecium, Leishmania.
In humansAlgae produce toxic chemicals which are really hazardous to humans.Protozoa are capable of causing diseases in humans such as malaria by plasmodium.
ImportanceAround 70% of oxygen is produced by algae in the atmosphere.Most aquatic food chains depend upon protozoa as their foundation.

What is Algae?

Algae are generally microscopic, which are unicellular. These types of unicellular Protozoa are called microalgae. In contrast, the types of multicellular protozoa are called macroalgae. These grow at a length of hundred feet and are seaweeds. Kelp is an example of seaweeds. Algae make their food. Hence they are autotrophs.

Algae are multicellular organisms or eukaryotic organisms. Algae are non-flowering, small aquatic plants having a green pigment called chlorophyll in them. They lack root, true stem, vascular system and leaves. Algae are organisms possessing plant-like characteristics. By the process of photosynthesis, algae produce foods. Around 70% of oxygen is produced by algae in the atmosphere.

What is Protozoa?

Protozoa are generally free-living organisms. However, sometimes they infect higher-order animals as well. As they lack a cell wall, thus they possess a variety of shapes. Through the contractile vacuoles, excess water is removed from the cell. Food vacuoles are present in protozoa. Most aquatic food chains depend upon protozoa as their foundation.

Chlorophyll is absent in protozoa. The cell wall is absent in protozoa. A cyst is the resting unit of protozoa. Some examples of protozoa are Euglena, Amoeba, Entamoeba histolytica, Paramecium, Leishmania. Some protozoa are capable of causing diseases in humans, such as malaria by plasmodium. By the process of phagocytosis, protozoa engulf food.

Main Differences Between Algae and Protozoa

  1. Algae are multicellular organisms or eukaryotic organisms. Whereas protozoa are prokaryotic organisms, i.e., single-celled animals.
  2. Algae are non-flowering, small aquatic plants having a green pigment called chlorophyll in them. They lack root, true stem, vascular system and leaves. Whereas protozoa are prokaryotic organisms belonging to the Protista kingdom.
  3. Algae are organisms possessing plant-like characteristics. On the other hand, protozoa are organisms possessing animal-like characteristics.
  4. Algae make their food. Hence they are autotrophs. On the contrary, protozoa are not capable of making their own. Hence they are heterotrophs.
  5. By the process of photosynthesis, algae produce foods. Whereas by the process of phagocytosis, protozoa engulf food.
  6. Algae contain a green coloured pigment in them, called chlorophyll. Whereas chlorophyll is absent in protozoa.
  7. The cell wall of algae is made up of a substance called cellulose. Whereas the cell wall is absent in protozoa.
  8. Spore is the resting unit of algae. Whereas the cyst is the resting unit of protozoa.
  9. Some examples of algae are cyanobacteria, brown algae, Seaweeds, red algae, green algae. However, some examples of protozoa are Euglena, Amoeba, Entamoeba histolytica, Paramecium, Leishmania.
  10. Algae produce toxic chemicals which are hazardous to humans. Whereas some protozoa are capable of causing diseases in humans, such as malaria by plasmodium.
  11. Around 70% of oxygen is produced by algae in the atmosphere. Whereas most aquatic food chains depend upon protozoa as their foundation.

Conclusion

Algae and protozoa are two kinds of millions and billions of organisms, both belonging to the kingdom Protista. Algae are either multicellular or unicellular and are plant-like organisms. In comparison, protozoa are eukaryotic organisms having the animal characteristic. Thus, the main difference between algae and protozoa is the way they prepare and eat food, i.e., their mode of nutrition. By the process of photosynthesis, algae produce foods. Whereas by the process of phagocytosis, protozoa engulf food.

References

  1. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.mi.10.100156.001515
  2. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.mi.12.100158.001431
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